The leaders of NATO countries will meet in the next few days to discuss increasing military aid to Ukraine.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on January 14 that Ukraine would receive more from the West “heavy weapons in the near future”.
“We are at a critical stage. We are witnessing a fierce war. Therefore, we need to equip Ukraine with the weapons they need to be able to win. Recent commitments to heavy weapons aid to Kiev is very important, I hope to have more such commitments in the near future,” Stoltenberg told the German newspaper Handelsblatt. On the other hand, he stressed, he did not want “total conflict between NATO and Russia”.
In recent weeks, NATO member countries, including the US, UK, and Germany, have announced that they will transfer tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, or modern missile defense systems to Ukraine.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said over the weekend that the country will deliver 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks along with artillery complexes to Kiev. The announcement states that 14 Challenger 2 tanks and about 30 AS90 self-propelled guns will be delivered in the next few weeks. The UK will also help train Ukrainian soldiers to operate this equipment.
“As the Ukrainian people are about to enter their second year of living under incessant ambushes, Prime Minister Sunak is determined to help Ukraine win this war. The Prime Minister, together with his military advisers, analyzed the situation, and assess the strategic impact of aid to Ukraine,” the statement said.
The move would make Britain the first Western power to supply main battle tanks to Ukraine. Earlier, when the US pledged to provide 50 Bradley fighting tanks in the largest military aid package ever to Kiev. Germany also announced it would deliver about 40 Marder armored personnel carriers, and a Patriot air defense system and France promised to deliver AMX-10 RC wheeled armored vehicles. Poland is considering sending Leopard tanks to neighboring Ukraine.
The West is likely to announce new aid to Kiev following a meeting of the US-led defense liaison group this week in Germany. The contact group of nearly 50 countries has met seven times since Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, each time making commitments to supply weapons to Ukraine.
The above statements were made in the context that the war in Ukraine – Russia tends to escalate, especially fiercely on the Eastern front. Moscow is intensifying its offensive to gain complete control of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
In response to the West’s pledge of aid to Ukraine, Russia warned that these weapons could not turn the situation around, but only prolong the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Moscow also stated that any external equipment supplied to Kiev would become a “legitimate target for Russian artillery”.